I didn’t think it could happen to me.
If I could choose one mindset that succinctly sums up most of my life it would be those eight words. The unimaginable.
A near fatal blood kidney disease was the last thing I would have thought I’d deal with my junior year of high school (so were the hickeys I gave my boyfriend the night before his confirmation.) I didn’t think I’d be married by the age of 21 or have three children by the age of 27. I wouldn’t have wished that my youngest child was autistic, but it happened all the same. It would have hurt too much to imagine I would lose both of my parents by the age of 38, just six years apart, or that my mother-in-law would be murdered in 2001. I would have been devastated to think I’d be divorced by the age of 49 and I certainly never thought I’d take a 14,500 foot skydiving leap as a way to cope. I never dreamed I’d be dating a hunky fireman at 52 (well….I might have once or twice after a few glasses of wine) or that I would be sending vaguely inappropriately pictures of New Kids on the Block to my best friend each night, a 48-year-old woman with special needs.
I’ve lived an interesting life, some of which I wouldn’t have ever wanted and most of which I never would have thought to ask for as a little girl. I’m grateful for all of it. But, here’s the cool part. I’m only midway through. As long as my parachute doesn’t fail I have another few decades and many more months to go. There are things waiting for me that I have never even imagined. Some are probably sad and tragic, and I try not to think about those. Many are mundane, work, bills, silly arguments with the fireman, but… others are quite possibly so indescribably wonderful that I can’t even begin to visualize what they are. And that keeps me going.
I look at life a little bit like baseball. Sometimes we just play it safe and wait for our turn to run to the next base. For those of us that tend to be a bit impulsive or easily bored, we steal bases. We take chances every day, often not thinking about what comes next or the end result. Sometimes we’re stranded between third and home, uncertain whether we race back to safety, or go for it and slide in for the run. We’re hesitant, we lack confidence…we can’t picture how it’s going to turn out. But if you hesitate, if you don’t take your chance, before you know it, the umpire calls you out. Game over.
Here’s the thing. I don’t want to be tagged out. I don’t want to play it safe or easy. I want to go for it. I want to live and laugh and get as dirty as I can, spending the last years of my life doing things that I never imagined possible. I want to leave this world needing a long hot shower, saying ‘I didn’t think it could happen to me, but I’m sure glad that it did.’
Want to come with?